Got a copy of this press release from my good friend Tim yesterday so I wanted to share it with everyone.

Connecticut-based YouGottaCall.com Awarded Patent for Online, Word-of-Mouth Referral System
June 7, 2011 South Windsor, CT

YouGottaCall.com is a Web-based word-of-mouth referral service for consumers and businesses. Today, YouGottaCall.com, LLC announced that it has been granted a patent by the USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office) on its novel process for sharing and monetizing word-of-mouth referrals. (Patent No 7,953,644)

Local search is being revolutionized as consumers use social and mobile media to connect and share information. Social media is ideal for conveying word-of-mouth referrals which consumers trust over all other forms of advertising. Word-of-mouth is credited with 80% of new customers for small businesses.

Founder Tim Tracey of West Hartford, CT says, “Other services like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Google and Angie’s List support local recommendations. YouGottaCall’s process is a step forward for the social economy. It benefits not only consumers and local businesses, but not-for-profit organizations as well. So each referral benefits the community.”

Tracey adds, “The US local advertising market is estimated to be $100B annually. Word-of-mouth is not yet considered in this, but as the social economy evolves it will become a significant contributor.”

YouGottaCall allows consumers to recommend their trusted businesses to friends and neighbors. Members can also search for businesses trusted by their friends. Participating businesses choose the amount they pay for each newly referred customer. The fee benefits the favorite charities of the members involved in the referral.

According to Tracey, “This patent is important because large social network sites are searching for ways to monetize their services. YouGottaCall converts social capital into charitable donations. We look forward to helping more not-for-profits organizations generate donations from activity their supporters are doing anyways – sharing trusted recommendations.”

YouGottaCall.com serves over 500 members and 250 trusted member businesses in Connecticut and western Massachusetts. Like Facebook and LinkedIn, it is free to join and use. Businesses may claim and manage their listings or have them added for free.

About YouGottaCall.com, LLC
YouGottaCall was incorporated 2007 and launched in 2008. It is based in South Windsor, CT and has been funded from private investments. Foresite Technologies of East Hartford, CT is a technology and development partner.

In 2010 YouGottaCall was a CT Technology Council “Company to Watch” and finalist for the Hartford Business Journal’s Strateg-e Award for “Best Use of Social Media”.
YouGottaCall Press Contact: Tim Tracey info@yougottacall.com 860-546-8468

Tim added to me:  We view the direct conversion of social capital to cash as a way the social economy will function in the future. This patent is an indication of the uniqueness of YouGottaCall’s ‘intrinsic monetization’ model.

Congrats Tim!